How to Promote Your Local Business using Directory Listings

Marketing is the key activity which improves the sales in every business. In this article, lets have a look at how to market your business by listing in online business directories. An online business directory is a website which lists different types of businesses categorically. A customer who is in need to find a service/product usually search in business directories to get his answer. There are different types of business directories 1) General Directories like Local , CitySearch 2) Industry specific directories like Yelp (for Restaurants).
All directories are country specific too. For example, Yelp focuses mainly in USA, where as Yalwa focuses mainly in United Kingdom. JustDial is a popular business directory in India. Similarly each country has its own set of popular business directories.  All you have to do is to identify the best ones and submit your business details in each directory.

Submitting in business directories has the following benefits:-

1. More visibility for your business  –  You can grow a business only by increasing its visibility. For an example, if you are in the business of making & selling organic food. At present you sell through 10 Walmart outlets. What will be your immediate option to increase sales ? You can go & pitch 10 Sears outlets too to give shelf space for your product. This is the only way to grow your business. By adding 10 Sears stores for your product, you are increasing the visibility of your product to Sears customers as well (remember you sold to Walmart customers only before). By submitting in business directories, you achieve exactly the same.
2. Higher number of leads/inquiries – Your chances of getting leads will increase with the number of directories you list.
3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) benefits – If you don’t know about Search Engine Optimization, please read the following articles to understand the same.
What is Search Engine Optimization & How it can help to increase your business & The Basics of Search Engine Optimization
There are 2 types of SEO benefits for listing in business directories. The first one is that your listing page in business directory will rank high in search engines for queries relevant to your business. For example, if you run a Sushi restaurant in Chicago and you list your restaurant in directories like Yelp or Zagat, it will help you get more business from Search engines. I am adding a screenshot of the results outputted by Google for a search query “Sushi restaurants in Chicago“. You may see the results involve business directory website pages of Zagat, Yelp, Menupages etc.
In the next screenshot you can see the results outputted by Google for an India based query. The query was “Real estate agents in Bangalore”. You can see results from business directories like JustDial & Yellow-pages dominating the first page results in Google.
The second SEO advantage is for your own website. Listing your business in directories with a link back to your website can help in improving the search rankings of your website. Good rankings in search engines like Google & Bing will always get you more business. Suppose you are a Website Design Agency in London. If you rank in the first position for a search query like “Web Design Agency London” in Google & Bing, chances are high that you will get inquiry leads from both search engines. The number of inquiries you will get depend upon your ranking position in search engines & the total number of people searching for your particular product/service.

Which all Directories & How many ?

Now this is an interesting decision point. Different marketing experts will be having different opinion on this. In my experience, you don’t need to submit your business in all the directories out there. You should not submit to business directories in a single sitting as well. You can take time! Divide the directories into many batches, say batches of 25 directories (choice is yours). You can divide them based on popularity & traffic. Alexa ranking is good metric to classify websites based on popularity. Having classified all directories into batches, submit to one batch every day. If you are too busy to do this job, you can always hire smart data entry professionals from freelancing websites.

What all data to submit ?

You can submit all relevant information about your business in a directory. You may think about your business from your customers shoes. What all data would a customer of your product prefer? In general you should give your Business name, a detailed description about your products/services, your contact details such as E-mail & phone number & your website with an active hyperlink. In addition it would be great if you can provide your product photographs & videos. If you are a service providing company, you can give photographs of your office, logos, work spaces &  corporate videos. Finally add relevant tags/keywords in each listing which will help you rank higher in the business directory.

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